The loving couple greeted the morning as they always did when the weather was fine. They joyfully promenaded together down the green lawn of their backyard with the floral and vegetable beds on the sides of their fences. The green lorikeets with their rainbow coloured chests cheerfully greeted them from the green callistemon tree with its red bottle brushes at the end of their backyard. The couple warmly reciprocated.
'Do I hear the yapping of poodles?'
Phil Danté stood at the back door disapprovingly looking at his noisy two best friends.
Franco and Ciccia turned and gave their pet human oh so bored French facial expressions,
'Have you finished your business?'
Phil returned to the kitchen as the pair had made it abundantly clear to him from the very beginning that it was extreme bad manners to intrude on their privacy. The pair complied, then sauntered in their own good time back through the flap on the back door of their home.
What an old crank!
Franco and Ciccia (Francesca's choice of name, Phil wanted to name them Rodriego and Gonzorga) had enough detective skills worthy of Sherlock Holmes to deduce that their other pet human, Francesca. wouldn't be working at her Beau Chien (the choice of name was his idea, her choice of Mondo Cane was already in use) Canine Beauty Salon that comprised half of the front parlour of the House of Danté. There was no undue rushing by their pet humans, so the white miniature poodles correctly deduced that today was a family outing to the neither too small nor too large coastal town.
Hearing Fran in the shower, the pair dashed into the master bedroom and jumped on the bed to supervise Phil doing his morning stretching and physical exercises on the floor. Their appearance on the bed was a small bone of contention between Phil and Fran with Phil all in favour of the miniature poodles who didn't take up much room and provided love, laughs and warmth in the winter. Though Fran agreed that they were clean and well mannered, she expressed reservations that made the poodles pull extra pathetic facial expressions or whimpering to wear her down.
They played her like a violin...
Hearing the bathroom door, the pair jumped down to the floor and pretended to sleep. Phil finished his exercises as his wife entered the room.
Whilst Fran prepared breakfast, it was time for the morning ball game where Phil would throw a ball down the garden path then either announce one of their names or,
The two loved competing against each other of who would be the first to grab it, and dash back with the ball in their mouth; their pet Phil would bend down and make a circle with arms that the winner would jump through.
If the pair had enough of the game, one of them would look at a plant in a garden bed with Phil believing that the ball he threw was hidden behind the plant that the poodles couldn't reach. As he got down to search for it, the other poodle would grab the ball they hid by a different plant and run back with it in triumph back into the kitchen.
Fran and Phil chatted as they always had over their breakfast, for you never tire of talking to your perfect mate. As opposed to one giant daily meal, the poodles dined on two small dishes of food at breakfast and dinner. Phil had prided himself on the fact that he had taught them to defy their instincts and eat slowly. The pair complied to please him, because he was so nice to them and they didn't want to hurt his feelings.
Ciccia accompanied Francesca to the boudoir where she did her last minute touching up.
Franco looked at Phil, then his box of toys, and back to Phil, and back to...
'OK, bring me Ernest Borgnine...'
Franco knocked down the oblong box containing his toys and looked for the little plastic pig that was Ernest Borgnine, not the other plastic pig that was Piggy-O. He gleefully brought it to Phil.
Once the entire family was watching The Vikings on a weekend afternoon movie on the television. At the part where King Ragnar was thrown to the wolves, the poodles went mad with delight.
Phil named the latest squeak toy after the actor who played King Ragnar, then would place the toy pig on his knee and do his best vocal impression of Ernest Borgnine that he had learned from a life of watching McHale's Navy, Pay or Die, Bad Day at Black Rock and so many other classic films.
'Oh. look at that giant wolf! He's going to eat me alive!'
Franco became excited and growled,
King Ragnar, you're going to get it this time!
After more panicked and pleading Ernie impressions, Phil would scream and drop Ernest Borgnine to the floor where le caniche sauvage attacked it.
Franco loved his squeaky chew toys, and mostly lost interest in them once he had destroyed the squeaker. However, Phil had kept them all and gave each one a name that Franco knew. When Franco didn't feel like eating, Phil would surround Franco's dish with Ernie, Piggy-O, Moo Cow and Kevin Rudd; the poodle would act like a greedy kill crazy Humphrey Bogart in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, giving each of the toys a vicious look as he ate his food, taking turns staring at each of them lest they steal his dinner.
Phil had noticed Franco's attraction to vicious attacks on a loudly squeaking toy; he trained his poodles to be attack dogs, and trained Franco to go for the groin. He only did it once outside of training, when some armed robbers hit the hotel when the three of them were lunching at an outside table. Ciccia loved pig ears, and it was easy to train her to grab a person's ear when they were on the ground, both of them seemed addicted to squeaks or shrieks of fright. She had accomplished that trick for real at the same time Franco literally leapt into action. No one would expect a poodle to do something like that...they paid for their stupidity with time in a hospital and currently a prison.
* * *
Coffee was the thing in an Australian town.
Not the drink itself, but meeting your friends for coffee, being seen with your friends drinking coffee, learning their news, then spreading their news to other friends over more coffee. Other than a strong long black in the morning, Phil preferred traditional tea and had few friends; his wife Fran was the social lioness and the caffeine fiend. He usually sat like a zombie and displayed his 10,000 yard/metre stare. That and his razor ship satiric wit he saw no reason to keep to himself never impressed the locals. Today it would just be the four of them.
Coffee was also canine socialisation. Being a lap dog showed the other dogs that they were of a higher social status and the poodles loved their high views from their pet's laps.
A human mother proudly walked her ultra loud red headed ill-mannered child down the pavement by the quartet's sidewalk café table.
From Phil's lap Franco looked at the loud ranga ankle-biter with the ear piercing voice.
Manga cartoon punk!
'That's not a nice thing to say, but it's true...'
'What did you say mon cher?'
'Nothing cara mia.'
'Who were you talking to, do you know them?'
Fran cuddled Ciccia as the latter gave an angry female look at Phil,
Don't encourage him!
'You'd think they could understand what we're saying!'
'As they would, cara mia.'
When they heard the obscene D word, Franco and Ciccia gave Fran a look of being upset.
Fran hugged Ciccia,
'Ohhhhh, did Doggie Daddy upset you, Doggie Dearest?'
Ciccia pulled Pathetic Face No. 5 that always guaranteed a good cuddle.
Franco looked at Ciccia,
'That's another "not a nice thing to say", but again, it's true...'
Both females scowled at Phil, Fran snapped,
'What are you talking about and who are you talking to? You're upsetting the children and embarrassing me! Honestly!'
Ciccia glared at Phil,
She returned to her cuddle, Fran laughed in maternal joy. Ciccia turned to give a snark of triumph to the two males.
Behave yourselves! We can't take you two anywhere!
Author Notes: I have won no prizes and I dream of the day when one of my works will be made into a minor motion picture...I am the author of three Extra Dimensional/Ultraterrestial military science fiction novels MERCENARY EXOTIQUE, OPERATION CHUPACABRA and WORK IN OTHER WORLDS FROM YOUR OWN HOME! as well as two travel books THE MAN FROM WAUKEGAN and TWO AUSTRALIANS IN SCOTLAND (all from Lulu.com). I live happily ever after with my wife in paradise (coastal Kiama, NSW Australia).